NBA OP-ED: Is LeBron James Hurting the Cleveland Cavaliers?
LeBron James hurting the Cleveland Cavaliers?
How on Earth does this make any sense whatsoever? James is without a doubt the single best player in the NBA today. He's won two championships, six Most Valuable Player Awards (including finals), and he can play just about every position. James is also still in the prime of his career, and doesn't show many signs of slowing down.
But this isn't about physical play. This is about mentality and control.
Let's not kid ourselves, James is the Cavaliers best player, general manager, head coach, and basically the team president. What James says, goes. No questions asked. Cavaliers upper management is terrified of the idea of James leaving again, maybe this time for good. Owner Dan Gilbert was blamed by many fans and NBA analysts for James leaving for the Miami Heat in 2010.
Does anybody really think Kevin Love will re-sign with the Cavaliers? Pretty unlikely given the fact that James isn't the biggest fan of his, and Tristan Thompson has emerged as a great offensive rebounder.
As we all remember, Michael Jordan helped the Chicago Bulls win six NBA Championships in the 1990s. He could do it all. Well, almost everything. The biggest (and only) weakness that Jordan ever had was player evaluation. Heck, he still has issues regarding player evaluation as the Charlotte Bobcats owner. Every time Jordan saw a player he liked and wanted the Bulls to sign, coach Phil Jackson and general manager Jerry Krause would simply say, "No Mike." That assembly line methodology worked just fine in the Windy City in the '90s.
Players play, coaches coach and owners own.
Except with the Cavaliers. James may just have a bit too much control when it comes to player personnel. In order for the James to fully get on board, he ordered coach David Blatt and owner Dan Gilbert to trade away two No. 1 overall picks, Anthony Bennett and Andrew Wiggins. The Cavaliers sure could have used Wiggins, who won rookie of the year with the Minnesota Timberwolves, in the NBA Finals. At this point it's only fair that James gets 100 percent credit and 100 percent of the blame.
James the general manager is hurting James the player.
James has to be able to trust upper management more often going forward if the Cavaliers are going to finally breakthrough and win a championship. His surrounding cast has been criticized very much for not being as good as the Golden State Warriors, but this is the team that he chose, and partially put together. As good as James did perform in the postseason this year he did miss two opportunities to win games in the finals, and he shot a dreadful 22.7 percent from the perimeter during the playoffs.
The Cavaliers have to be able to convince James they can work together moving forward. This type of basketball won't beat the elite teams in the finals.
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